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Be Careful of Sanitizing Scams

Like many people, we are feeling pretty frustrated with Covid-19, and the restrictions that have been placed on us as citizens. More than that, though, we are feeling increasingly frustrated by the rampant and, frankly, flippant use of the words "sanitize," "disinfect," and "sterilize." Some of you may remember way back when, we used to advertise "Powered Water cleans and sanitizes without the use of soaps or detergents." We had to stop saying the word sanitize in our advertising because the EPA came out and said that we couldn't, because we couldn't prove that we made carpet generally safe for humans with our cleaning. That was really frustrating, especially since Oreck vacuums would claim that they sanitized just by vacuuming. While it was frustrating at the time, we learned some valuable lessons- namely that people don't understand the difference between clean, sanitize, disinfect, and sterilize. And even with all this new stuff regarding Covid, we still don't understand the power and importance of those words. And worse, they don't verify claims of people that say they are sanitizing, or disinfecting, before wasting their money on products or services that don't deliver as promised.

Yesterday we received a call from a real estate agent trying to sell a home, and the buyers were worried about the possibility of Covid being in the house. They wanted everything disinfected, and called us to see what could be done. They were disappointed to find out that it wasn't as simple as just coming in a spraying something on the carpet and the walls, and calling it good at a couple hundred dollars. When they were told we would want to clean the walls and then spray the disinfectant, in order to be truly effective, they balked. They stated they wanted us to just spray something in the house to make the germs go away. We can certainly do that, but it is NOT disinfecting. Disinfecting REQUIRES a surface to be thoroughly cleaned prior to the application of the disinfectant itself. Germs can hide and flourish under the microscopic coatings of oil, bio-effluence, and other sticky stuff that cover virtually every surface in their home and office. Without cleaning this film off, it is impossible to remove the germs, and therefore impossible to disinfect.

As much as I would love to make people feel good about the chemicals we as a society use to combat germs, they aren't effective if not used properly. And as far as I can see, most of the companies out there stating they are "sanitizing" or "disinfecting" are using chemicals that say "disinfectant" on them, but that is just about it. Yes, I'm frustrated that I live by the regulations, and others aren't, seemingly without consequence, but I am more frustrated that I feel actual harm can and will come to unsuspecting customers. Sanitizing and disinfecting are both done intentionally, not by accident. It is NOT as simple as just spraying something into the air, and anyone who is telling you otherwise, or that cleaning is pretty simple, either doesn't know, or doesn't care that they are not doing things right. Please be wary!